Put your mask on first

Earlier this month, I attended an Association for Women in Communications program, presented by Amie Kincaid, Ph.D., assistant professor of communications at University of Illinois Springfield, on the topic of “Achieving Better Work-Life Balance.”  Achieving this balance in life is something that many nonprofit professionals struggle with, myself included. During her presentation, Dr. Kincaid pointed to an excellent example we’ve all heard before, but still haven’t learned:

“Every time you fly in an airplane, you are reminded of safety tips before an airplane takes off.  They remind us that in the event of an emergency, we are to put our masks on first, before assisting others.  We are reminded of this because if we don’t take care of ourselves, we are unable to offer assistance to anyone else.”

As nonprofit professionals, we need to do the same thing and remember take care of ourselves so we can better care for others.  I know, easy to say – not as easy to do.  But, here are some tips on ways you can take care of yourself:

  • Take a lunch break:  So often, we are rushing to grab a snack, while typing emails, answering phone calls and addressing the latest drama at our nonprofit.  Instead, be intentional about taking a lunch break.  Whether you sit in the conference room (sans computer) or drive your car in the park, take a few minutes out of your hectic day to regroup and nourish your body.
  • Ask for help:  I know, you are probably superwoman/superman, but by asking for help, you can reduce the stress on your shoulders, which will help you take care of yourself.
  • Use your vacation days:  There is a reason your employer has given you vacation days – you need a break!  Take a vacation day to relax at home, read a new fiction book or watch a new movie.  You will be refreshed when you come back to the office!
  • Continue to learn and grow:  Have you always wanted to further your education and attend school?  Or maybe you’ve be interested in taking on a new hobby?  Have you wanted to start journaling or maybe learn how to use the latest technology gizmo?  Or maybe make time in your schedule to feed your Pinterest addiction to get some fresh ideas?  Whatever it is, take some time to continue to learn and grow.  Remind yourself that it is good to invest time in growing yourself.

By taking care of yourself, you will be able to better fulfill your role and help your organization fulfill its mission.  You will also put yourself in a better position to maximize the impact you have in the nonprofit sector.

The nonprofit sector needs you, so please, do take care of yourself!

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About Dr. Sarah Wolin Mackey

Putting theory into practice at nonprofit organizations.
This entry was posted in Nonprofit Management, Young Professional and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Put your mask on first

  1. Holly J Fowler says:

    I was just thinking I needed a Sarah blog post! This concept is something I really need to work harder at. Today I took a 10 minute Pinterest break, but then skipped lunch… progress?

  2. Thanks, Holly! Yes, taking some time off to play on Pinterest is a step in the right direction. Next step is making that free time a habit!

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